A few months ago I was looking for a book that built the case that the gospel, the good news of Christ’s work on the cross, was for more than salvation alone and I found a great text in Mitchell Chase’s The Gospel is for Christians. I have had far too many conversation where I might suggest that the gospel is the basis for our faith and life and someone makes a comment like “but these people are already saved, we have to give them something else.” Bunk. If everything we do is not founded in our motivated by the gospel, we have missed the point.
Chase does well to remind us of this point and lays out some ways in which our view of the gospel can inform our lives. From the book’s description: “The Message that Saves is the Message that Sanctifies. Christian discipleship cannot be achieved by following clever formulas or spiritual shortcuts. Believers achieve true growth by holding firmly to and continually appropriating the gospel of God’s grace. While some people consider the gospel to be relevant only for conversion, the Bible teaches that the gospel is indispensable for the Christian life.”
Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:
“If we’re not careful, we might unknowingly lead people to think that Jesus isn’t Lord unless they make him their Lord through faith. We must teach that the Holy Father, not human faith, already made Jesus Lord.”
“For the believer, Christ becomes the reason for living and dying; he is not a means to some greater end. Christ is not penultimate; he is ultimate”
“When we water down the gospel to trite formulas, we are not helping sinners understand the gospel better. Rather, we may be muddying the waters by attaching the label sheep on goats—people who offered all the right answers to a few questions but who were perhaps only interested in obtaining fire insurance.”
“Quit fretting over the length of the pastor’s sermons, whether or not you think he’s funny, and try to concentrate the best you can on what he’s saying—you might even try jotting some notes. Pursuing church for its entertainment value is a dead-end road, because we should gather to worship God, not be preoccupied with our preferences and tastes.”
“Drawing people to church services with non-gospel strategies is dangerous, because people will stay for what they came for.”
And this one from C.J. Mahaney, ‘“The gospel isn’t one class among many that you’ll attend during your life as a Christian—the gospel is the whole building where all the classes take place!”’
The Gospel is for Christians pulls a lot of great nuggets from several pastors and authors and brings it together around the them that the gospel is for our whole lives. While a few of the chapters drag on, I appreciate Chase’s fidelity to the gospel and I was refreshed and encouraged by the book.